“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Last month I discussed the sUAS phenomenon, the ignorance associated with the word “drone,” and the positive possibilities this specific platform could bring to model aviation.
Two years ago, AMA introduced an online, interactive game to illustrate lift, thrust, drag, and weight. This was the beginning of Flight School, our educational website that works every day to answer the question “How Do I?”
As I write this in early January, we have 106 articles, 49 videos, 14 Educational Partners including NASA, and five youth ambassadors. All of this content covers 26 topics and receives more than 3,000 unique visitors per week! And the good news is that it doesn’t stop. Content will continue to be placed on Flight School, and for 2014 we will introduce, and later launch, a new addition to Flight School: the Learning Management System (LMS).
The LMS will allow us to provide a number of significant benefits to our audience. First of all, those who apply to become a CD will be able to take a course and the exam online. When we finish with the new Association Management System later in the year, your status as a CD will automatically be reflected on a printout until your next membership card arrives.
For those seeking a Turbine Waiver or Large Model Aircraft Waiver the instruction and necessary forms can be taken care of online, leaving only the flight/inspection to take care of. When that has been completed, the membership status will again be updated to reflect completion of all requirements.
Now comes the really challenging part: things not currently a part of the AMA catalog of licensing and waivers—the sUAS! One of the strongest things we’ve had to offer the FAA is our willingness to step forward in safety matters. Knowledge and understanding equal safety.
We will focus our LMS on current AMA programs and the sUAS, beginning with the National Air Space (NAS) and providing classes and requirements to operate any sUAS in a recreational or light commercial manner. Because sUAS includes model airplanes as we know them today, some of this might apply to everyone. For example, knowledge of the NAS is something everyone flying should have, so a quick, easy, online review of the “rules of the road” would mean that you log onto the LMS, provide your AMA number, and do the review.
Self-attestation is going to be a component in all of this—if you say you did it, checked it, and learned it, we’re good with that. We’re also going to make sure that our insurance is good with all of this as well. For those light commercial users, being a part of the AMA will only make good sense considering the insurance, advocacy, and information available.
Becoming the community-based organization recognized by the FAA is a huge accomplishment for the AMA and at the same time, a responsibility that we all must share. When something goes bad it reflects on all of us, so let’s make sure we do all we can to be safe, and not sorry.
Busy with the LMS, continued development of Flight School, public appearances, travel with the Mobile RC Experience, and my own continued interest in flying—especially with Greyson, our baby who has now turned 10, 2014 will be a great year!
This month I used a great quote from a great American, Henry Ford. What we believe has so much to do with who we are and what we can accomplish. It’s my belief that this is also what leadership is all about—the ability to make those around you believe they can.
The AMA is full of members who do just that in many roles and capacities. One of them is Gary Fogel. Gary and I have gotten to know each other through our time spent on the FAA Workgroup with Rich Hanson, AMA’s government affairs liaison, and Gary is an amazing man. He’s an author, modeler, teacher, businessman, and leader.
As a leader, Gary is sharing the thrill of flight through models at San Diego State University. Check his brief report:
Freshmen students at San Diego State University (SDSU) recently enjoyed building FF model airplanes as a part of AE123 Introduction to Aerospace taught by AMA Leader Member Dr. Gary Fogel. After first using AMA Delta Dart models and AMA Foam Plate Gliders (FPG-9s), kindly arranged through AMA’s Education Department, students were tasked with modifying a standard Guillow’s kit (with thanks to John Weaver at Discount Hobby Warehouse) to improve performance in light of a chosen purpose (increased duration, speed, distance, etc.).
Through the hands-on effort, students applied class knowledge to aircraft design, and used models to test their hypotheses. Several SDSU students have now switched their major to aerospace, and also joined the AMA.
These students are now little trains that think they can, so they can. They’ve accomplished flight and experienced learning through model aviation. No wonder Henry Ford did what he did.
Fly and have fun!